Talk:Detonating cord

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This article is fucking retarded. Explanations on time fuse? This is an encyclopedia, not a goddamn how-to. If you need to resort to Wikipedia to tell you how to cut your time fuse, you are fucked up and probably don't belong anywhere near explosives.

Higher-yield detonating cord can be used to cut down small trees; one complete wrap per foot diameter is a rough starting point.

I have cut down trees with detcord. Unless "higher yield" means about as thick as a sausage, this is far too little. Cutting trees with detcord is very uneconomical and time consuming compared to using bulk explosives or even a chainsaw.

I have personally used 3 wraps of detonation cord to cut down a tree. the military also uses this method to block roads with trees.
I have personally witnessed detcord being used to clear old pilings. The cord was about 3/8 to 1/2 inch in diameter, and a couple feet long, electrically detonated. The diver placed the cord, climbed out (to avoid shock wave injury) and triggered it. There was a sharp crack and a very fast circular shockwave was visible on the water surface. Boats docked nearby were undamaged, and fish kill was minor. I believe it may have required multiple shots to sever a piling.

Could some of these uses actually be refering to some other form of line charge, such as Royal Ordnance Blade(Fowler, Will. Greenhill Military Manuals: Arms and Equipmet of Special Forces. Greenhill Books, London. 1996 pg 60-61). This is a line charge designed to cut through the material it is attached to. BTW, what is the prefered citiation format here on Wiki? Nkuzmik 02:41, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

I am also extremely doubtful about some of the "unconventional uses" listed:

Detonating cord has been reported to have occasionally been used during wartime to restrain prisoners if no handcuffs were available; the cord was first demonstrated on a tree or other object, then tied to the prisoners.

Ah, the weaselly "reported to". Can anyone find a cite for this? Quite apart from probably being a war crime, it doesn't make much sense; anyone possessing significant amounts of detcord is very likely to also have quite a bit of tape even if they have no cord or rope; and a prisoner with explosives attached is far more likely to assume the worst and try something desperate. And if they do escape you've already provided them with a weapon! (Also you don't generally use handcuffs to secure prisoners of war; the system will evacuate them to the rear and you'll never see your $30 handcuffs again.)

I didn't write this one but have heard similar applications.
Sorry, I don't want to sound rude but "reported to" and "heard of" are not a sufficient standard for an encyclopedia. This sounds to me like a bunkhouse yarn that turned into a wild rumour, and I will remove it unless someone can find a cite. Securiger 09:11, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Not sure who's argument I'm helping, but I saw det cord used for prisoner restraint in an old issue of Marvel Comics' Punisher. I can't recall the issue number but I still have it around someplace. If you really want, I can look for it. Nkuzmik 02:41, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

I have a Marvel Comic that shows a guy named superman that can fly in a red cape. 19:14, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
I think this story might have had its genesis during the Vietnam conflict. Many bizarre, and fabricated, stories used to circulate among the press corp and the diplomats.
One that used to surface from time to time alledged that prisoners, for interrogation, would have "det-cord" tied around their necks. The threat being that if the prisoner didn't cooperate then the would be beheaded. Some versions claimed that one luckless prisoner would be executed to thus encourage the others. I worked there from 1969 until 1873 and heard this story several times. Not surprisingly,I never heard a first hand account. It may have happened. Could have happened. Worse things did but I always thought it a myth along withthe other tall tales.
As for possibly using the "det-cord" as a restraint. Maybe. But soldiers alwayshave plenty of rope around. Cost, in a war zone, wouldn'thave been an issue. Waste was phenomenal.
  ](Roger Henry 2 April 09)]

It has been used to clear brush to effectively stop the progression of forest fires.

Again, cite please. A firebreak needs to be an absolute minimum of 4 m wide to stop a fire in light grassland and light wind when the line is continuously manned. It would take an enormous amount of detcord to blow a firebreak that size—and that's a minimum, as soon as you get high winds even a 40 m break needs continuous manning. The normal process is to use a grader or bulldozer (or a plough, in grassland) to cut two strips 3 to 4m wide about 40 to 100m apart, then controlled backburn the land between the two strips, preferably at night if time permits. That gives you a 40 ~ 100 m wide break cheaply, safely, at about 6 km/h (multiplied by the number of graders available.)

US Patent number 4,102,428 Seismic Cord - This cord has a layer of flame retardant surrounding the explosive core. Either 4 or 7 strands are cabled together to provide sufficent energy. 100 feet of the cord is packed into a backpack configuration.
I just read this patent at (you need to type the number in yourself, the search link expands to something way too long to cut-and-paste), and it isn't for making firebreaks, it's for seismic prospecting. The flame retardant coating is so it doesn't start fires. But we could add seismic prospecting to the list! Securiger 09:11, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)
The "Fireline" product consisted of 4 or 7 strands of the 200 Seismic cord cabled together. The flame retardant does prevent initiation of additional fires. This product worked well but has been replaced by water gel explosives. this is the type of product used to make firebreaks not detcord itself the to clear a largenough area you would need ungodly amounts of detcord at the highest grains per foot. (HMF)

It has also been used for environmental purposes to remove nonindigenous species of fish from bodies of water, the shock wave being lethal to the non-native species.

Well that's extraordinary. Why are the non-native species more vulnerable? What if the native fish are close to the cord while the non-native fish are hiding on the bottom? Why would detcord be more useful here than a simple charge? I'm not saying this is untrue but again a cite would be useful, as well as some explanation as to how it works.

I typed incorrectly, the system kills everything then they restock the lake.
Oh. Evidently then any explosive could be used. Securiger 09:11, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Yes any explosive charge will kill fish. The application using cord was novel in that the matrix of cord minimized the total amount of explosive by dispersing the energy more efficiently.

Det cord is more commonly used as a fish sampling technique than as a method of eradication. For example, det cord has been used in Florida lakes by fisheries biologists as a sampling method. Det cord is used because it can be placed over a known area and then detonated from a safe distance. Once detonated, the fish can be collected. If the goal is to remove fish from a large area or an entire body of water, then a piscicide such as rotenone would be more practical. I learned of this particular application for det cord from conversations with Florida fisheries biologists who have experience with this technique.

Det cord is commonly used to increase the production of water and petroleum wells.

All oil well shooting I've heard of uses bulk HE, compressed fuel/oxygen mixes, or specialised shaped charges. Is it claimed here that detcord is used to downlink to the charge (in which case it is not really a separate "unusual use") or as the charge--in which case: cite?

The det cord is typically wrapped around a mandrel lowered down the well and detonated.

>>The application listed above, is actually somewhat correct. If while drilling an oilwell, your drill pipe becomes stuck in mud/sand, you can apply a small amount of reverse torque to your drill string, and detonate a string of det-cord wrapped around a small mandrel. This shocks the tool joint that you want to seperate, and will allow you to unscrew your drill string at a predetermined location above the free point( point at which the drill pipe is stuck) and you can remove your drill string, and later run fishing tools into the well. This application is called a string shot. -William Gray CPCI Corpus Christi <<

Additional uses for det cord have been: tenderizing meat,

You have to be kidding!? Cite?

Please see:
There are also several articles about "hydrodyne" using explosives to tenderize meat.
That link 404's for me. Did you get it all when you copied it? However by googling on "Hydrodyne" and "meat", I found enough to see that the basic point is true; explosives are being used to tenderise meat, something that definitely warrants an article! But none of the references I found referred to det cord (adding any of the common synonyms reduced my search to 0 hits), and one (admittedly not very well referenced) page said four ounces of C4. Securiger 09:11, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)
As you might imagine the details of a proprietary process usually aren't totally exposed for everyone. There has been a plethora of devices used in the meat tenderizing process, soundwaves from all sources, electric, pneumatic, as well as explosives. Det cord has been amongst them.
clearing landmines,

If you only mean connecting multiple clearance charges together, this doesn't really count as a separate usage. If you mean using the detcord as the clearance charge: cite? Securiger 15:45, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Please see:
This is a det cord only mine clearing system.
I'm familiar with projected line charges. While line charges are a flexible linear explosive charge as detcord is, they aren't considered to be a type of detcord; even the lightest generally have much heavier charges per length. We could make a comment to the effect that above the heaviest end of the detcord spectrum you get line charges instead. Securiger 09:11, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)
We are getting into semantics here. There is no industry threshold that product size crosses to become det cord or line charge. However I do appreciate your motivation for accuracy.

Detcord CAN be used for tenderising meat, it was a general explosives excercise, something about the shockwaves themselves doing the tenderising.

   "It has been used to clear brush to effectively stop the progression of forest fires."

cite: "Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology" published by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group "Fireline Explosives (FLE): Specially developed coils containing explosive powder that are detonated to create a fireline through ground fuels."

The above sounds like a "specially developed" system. I doubt that "purchasing some detcord" counts as "specially developing" something.


What's the judge of unconventional? The typical use for an explosive is to ... well, blow things up, but there are some pretty inventive uses, I'll admit. But what makes using it to, say, carve rock unconventional? You'd think that'd be almost tailor-made for the task.IL-Kuma 04:00, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

"Det cord can be taped in several rings, to the outline of a military man-sized target and detonated, breaching a man-sized hole into wooden doors or light interior walls."

This is preposterous on its face. Who's going to waste time taping det cord to the outline? Just go up the one side, across the top, and down the other. BANG, and you're through. The freakin' DOOR is man sized already! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:10, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

This is not preposterous, this is called an oval charge and you can verify this by searching by name, or for the Marine Corps UMBC Card, or if you need the official publication it is FM 5-250 (demolitions and military explosives). But it is used for creating a hole in a wall (concrete reinforced or not, or any wooden interior or exterior wall) and through roofs; just with varying amounts of det cord. As a sapper, or combat engineer if you will, I can tell you that we do not always use the door, because that is where the enemy is watching. In fact we will do almost anything to avoid coming through the door. —Preceding unsigned comment added by USMC8541 (talkcontribs) 16:19, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

seconding this statement detcord is used as a breech to enter building through walls or roofs. (HMF)


I was having a conversation about this and the first thing we thought about was the legality of purchasing/owning. I couldn't seem to find any information anywhere except for one distributors terms for sale and feel like this may be something that should be added to more pyrotechnic related pages. What does everyone else think about adding a section like this to the article?? I would be happy to do the digging if people thing it may be of use. Ginoclement (talk) 09:37, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

Detonation rate[edit]

The first paragraph says "approximately 6400 m/s", while the "Effects" section says "7,000-8,000 m/s". Anyone got some test samples and a phantom camera? Or some really, really long test samples and a normal camera?